NBSS Week 8 – Making an oilstone box, drafting our shaker nightstand, some more chair design, and our first trip to a lumber yard

This week began with another exercise to help continue to build our hand tool skills: making an oilstone box.

To construct the box we had to mill one piece of walnut, cut it in two for grain match, and then flatten 1 side, 1 face, and 1 edge. We then used our marking gauge and the actual oilstone to lay out the dimensions of the hole we needed to cut to house the stone itself inside the 2 pieces of wood. This exercise reinforced the concept of measuring your cut lines from reference faces and also introduced us to the concept of slip matching for grain match. We also learned how to use the router plane. The lessons learned during this exercise were many. First, don’t get overzealous with your chisel when cutting to depth (I went a little deep on my first side by not paying attention). Second, when pairing to your layout lines, take small bites until you get very close to your layout line, then use your chisel to “walk” along the line while paring to depth. This allows you to register the flat you have created to continue that flat in a straight line. Third, was the set-up and sharpening of the router plane and blade. After flattening the sole of the plane (sandpaper on a flat surface) you have to project the blade of the plane below the sole while the sole rides on a 2 rail jig with the sharpening stone in the middle.

The blade runs over the sharpening stone and makes a small cut that shows you the angle that you then need to grind the blade to. You would assume that the blade would be set up to cut at a true 90 degrees and some planes in the class where close, but many were not. Mine cuts at an extreme skew.

After you find this angle you go to a belt sander and grind/sand to that angle and then use your sharpening stones to hone it until its sharp. Then you can insert the blade and start cutting! The router plane itself is really a great tool, and lots of fun to use.

Next up we drafted our first NBSS project to build: the shaker nightstand with drawer.




We were all given guidelines and details and then set free to draft. What was really cool was to walk around the class and see how everybody interpreted the details differently. We all had the same required information but the views and layouts people chose to convey those ideas were all very different. I don’t think I saw any 2 drawings that were the same. Pretty interesting. With everybody’s drawings completed, we each created a stock list for the project build so that we would know the amount and type of lumber we would need to buy at the lumberyard.

On Friday the class took a field trip to our first lumberyard, Highland Hardwoods in New Hampshire. First, Dan walked us through proper lumberyard etiquette (don’t lay lumber on the floor, restack the bins like you found them, etc.). He then showed us what to look for to select, price, and pick the wood we wanted to buy. We were then set free and the fun began. We all selected and bought poplar for our nightstands, and I also purchased some butternut for my toolbox build. We then loaded up and headed back to the shop.

Sean and I also continued to attend the chair design classes throughout the week and we made layout and drafting templates for our rear legs, the shoe profile and angles, the rear leg front profiles, the backsplat, and the crestrail. We then started to draft the joinery for all these components on our full size drawing. We will continue to finish the full size drawing next week, and then for us, we will be done with the drafting. (We will not begin to build the chair until next semester.)

This week’s Friday meal out in the North End took me back to Regina Pizzeria where I tried the meatball pizza and it was just as good if not better than the first time I went. You’ve got to stop by and have a slice if you’re ever in the area! Next week, we begin to build the Shaker nightstand, Oh boy!

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